July 5 - Ottawa

There is energy on this expedition, nine young adults from different parts of the world coming together to witness. I ask myself what exactly does the word witness mean – to observe something with your own eyes and to meld what is seen to the personal experience of the individual? Is this why we can all see the same thing yet describe the experience with unique points of view? Nine young adults with nine sets of eyes, all here to witness the Arctic and bring back to their communities personal versions of what we’ve seen. This is the wonder that I see in Pax Arctica 2008! [Mary]

July 5: Ottawa – a beautiful capital. Big buildings that were built to last are made of thick stone walls. Their spiraling turrets lighten the structure as they reach toward the sky. The oxidized copper roofs create an organic green contrast against the blue sky. The weather is perfect. The air is the temperature as our skin. We drive from the airport along a beautiful canal that creates a meandering lifeline through the city. Bicycles and runners and strollers move along the sidewalks share by walkers intoxicated with the peaceful mood. We toured the city with John Coo, our host from GreenCross Canada, as he drove us from the airport to the hotel and appointed out those ‘not to miss spots’ like only a local can do.
At the hotel our group begins to take shape as members of the expedition arrive through out the day. The tasks are delegated as we rush to take advantage of our last opportunity to gather supplies. Nicole coordinates the arrivals of Mark and the Zangrillos; Luc, Sebastian and Mary shop for food; Flaam and Ainhoa manage the fitting of gear from Napa Pijri and distribution of sunglasses from Oakley; Olympia is our meet greet master (since she has already met all of the young explorers) she handles introductions wth ease while Brian interviews the explorers about their expectations of the adventure that is about to unfold.
Meanwhile the Coo family has spent the day preparing a feast. At 8 pm, we sit together at a long narrow candle lit table decorated with flags representing our many nationalities brought together at a long narrow candle lit table decorated with flags representing our many nationalities brought together by GreenCross and Pax Arctica. Sebastian leads our toast – to our hosts and the beautiful Arctic we are about to encounter! [Mary]